City council plans to outline 2013 goals at annual workshop

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The Los Altos City Council is slated to discuss its goals for the year at an annual workshop scheduled 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Neutra House, 181 Hillview Ave. The meeting is open to the public.

The agenda will include defining 2013 goals, reviewing the status of the city’s capital improvement projects and financial plan, discussing environmental sustainability efforts and crafting a potential visioning process for downtown and Loyola Corners.

Mayor Jarrett Fishpaw said the workshop would serve as a platform for the newly formed council to engage in “frank and open discussions” about some of the city’s pressing issues. Councilwomen Jeannie Bruins and Jan Pepper assumed their elected seats on the council Dec. 4, replacing termed-out Councilmen David Casas and Ron Packard.

“A lot of (the workshop) is going to provide the new councilmembers with where we’ve been and where we stand on certain things,” Fishpaw said. “A lot of it will also frame the background on where we want to go.”

Among those pressing issues is a discussion on the next steps for the Civic Center Master Plan. In April, the council opted not to place a $65 million bond measure to fund a portion of the master plan’s initial $81 million phase on the November ballot after a public survey revealed less than the needed support.

In late August, city staff presented the council with alternatives for the master plan, including a report that outlined $1.5 million to $2 million in needed repairs to Hillview Community Center.

Noting the “state of disrepair” of the community center, Fishpaw said he’s particularly eager to tackle the master plan, calling the outlining of future steps a priority for the city.

“It’s going to be an important issue with the new council,” Fishpaw said. “We’re going to have to make some decisions here. … Hillview is in a state where it really needs some capital investment.”

Another key discussion item, according to Fishpaw, is identifying potential opportunities for public engagement – and extension of the communication theme he set for his term as mayor.

Specifically, Fishpaw noted that the council would use the opportunity to review the city’s public communication practices and its legal requirements.

Councilwoman Val Carpenter added that she expects the council to identify slightly fewer goals in 2013 than last year, when she served as mayor.

“Last year it was a very experienced council going in,” she said. “We set an aggressive, ambitious agenda and we achieved it. This year, a part of it is about getting to know each other in a more relaxed setting.”

Bruins concurred, noting that the meeting will serve as an opportunity for councilmembers to become familiar with each member’s strengths and interests.

“I’m ecstatic,” Bruins said of the upcoming workshop. “There’s a whole new energy and openness, and I think our first interaction during the (Dec. 11) council meeting was very positive. We’re in good shape.”

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